In Memory

Mark Fortin

Mark left Radford after his junior year


Mark R. Fortin
1958 - 2009
YORK — Mark R. Fortin, 51, of 387 Cider Hill Road and former resident of Portland, died Friday, Sept. 25, after a short illness.
He was born Jan. 13, 1958, in Omaha, Neb., a son of Ronald F. and Henrietta "Chicki" A. (Demers) Fortin. He graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 1991, with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.
He was a communicant of Pope Pius X Catholic Church in Portland as well as a member of the Knights of Columbus. His many interests included fly fishing at Rapid River, fly tying, making jewelry and rosaries, designing and making furniture and watching football and hockey. He was well-known for his dedication to his family, who will deeply miss him. He also had a great sense of humor, which stayed with him until the end.
Besides his parents, he leaves twin daughters, Chelsea and Trisha Fortin of Rumford; two brothers, David H. Fortin of Houston, Texas, and Dr. Jeffrey A. Fortin and his wife, Suzanne Filippone, of Delmar, N.Y.; two sisters, Cynthia R. Dodd and Felicia A. Curtin and her husband, Brian, of York; eight nieces and nephews, Darrell and Daniel Fortin of Houston, Texas, Lindsay Fortin of Nashville, Tenn., Ryan, Cameron and Mackenzie Curtin of York and Luca and Andre Fortin of Delmar, N.Y.; and his best friend and former wife, Trina A. Fortin of Rumford.

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02/13/11 03:59 AM #1    

Tracy Russell

Mark Fortin was my friend. He may be gone but in my mind he will always be remembered for his sense of humor, his loyal friendship and his hardy laugh. He possessed a relentless drive and competitive spirit that brought out the best in all of us. I am blessed to have known him and his family. Our adversary days as Colts and Packers are long gone and so are our glory days together as Jets and Angels. But the memories live on and they were good ones. Rest in peace my friend, you were a good man.

God bless,                                                                                                                                         Tracy Russell

05/19/11 08:11 PM #2    

Karen Gallagher

My dear friend Rick Scott and I have been looking for Mark for years since we graduated and I am paralyzed with sadness that he is no longer alive.  So many of us loved Mark and I will always fondly remember his visit to me while I was attending Boston College.  He was a free spirit and a die-hard ZZ Top fan.  I will miss him.  Karen Gallagher 1976


06/07/11 01:43 PM #3    

Tayron "Tay" Tolley '77 (Cutter)

This is very, very sad news.  Mark and I dated off and on from 1974 (Hawaii) to 1977 (Texas) when he left Texas to join his family up north where his dad had been transferred the year before.  I had hoped that some day he and I would get to catch up and see how each other turned out. 

A memory:  Mark and I went to Radford's homecoming dance his junior year.  When he picked me up at my house, he gave me a pikake lei and kissed me in front of my parents.  It was a quick but well-placed kiss--wow!--but my very "Southern" parents later told me they thought it improper (oh brother!).  When we walked out the door to his car (remember that big ol' Delta 88?), Mark told me we were going to his house next because his mom wanted to meet me and see my dress--yikes!  I was not expecting that and was very nervous, on top of already being nervous about being in a car with a boy on a date, all before my 16th birthday which wasn't until May!  Anyone who knew his parents knows his mom is delightful and his dad is nice.  When we got to his house, his parents came outside, and I got out of the car to model...well, I was very shy, so I probably just stood there trying to keep my knees from buckling.  His mom was so sweet.  I felt like a princess.

We had a great time at the dance.  I was really in heaven because I loved to dance (understatement) and here I was with a boy I liked who was dedicated to dancing with me for the night.  On our way home we got a flat tire.  Yes, a real flat tire in that big car!  I couldn't believe it!  It was like something out of a sitcom--you know, like "Happy Days" where the teenager's excuse for coming home late is "flat tire," but he and his girlfriend were really necking?  We were NOT necking!  On the contrary, Mark was under the car in front on the driver's side telling me to put my foot on the brake while he tried to get the lug nuts off the wheel.  He forgot to tell me, though, to...(remember I am fifteen, and I have NEVER been behind the wheel of a car) NOT turn the steering wheel:  "Aah! Stop, Tayron! Don't turn the wheel!"  I was mortified feeling really stupid.  Mark didn't seem to hold it against me.  In fact, I learned a lot about cars from him over the next couple of years. 

Mark was very strong (biceps!), had a lot of courage (Radford Varsity Football), and he loved the "Lord of the Rings" books.  He was a playful, sincere, and romantic boyfriend.  We had some great dates!  I am happy that he seems to have experienced the fullness of life with people who loved him dearly.  He deserved that. 

09/11/11 06:27 AM #4    

Julie O'Sullivan (Quick)

Getting ready for reunions you trepidly click on the In Memory pages, the last time I checked there was only one.  I am also sorry for the passing of Mark.  I hope all that he left behind are doing well.  I believe those that gave unselflessly are with God.  I am sure Mark is looking down his children and has become their guardian angel.

01/11/14 09:27 AM #5    

Julie Altwies

After looking for Mark for many years, I am sad to learn of his passing but love reading about his life and his family. I am comforted to know he had a wonderful life and had many people who loved him. He touched my life as one of my early best friends and he has had a lasting place in my heart. With Karen Gallagher and Rick Scott, we always felt that our fourth friend was missing but never forgotten over the years. Thank you, Mark, for the memories, friendship and love.

03/10/14 09:40 AM #6    

Tayron "Tay" Tolley '77 (Cutter)

A recent article about Mark Fortin's daughters, posted here for the family.

Rumford graduates, twins,

are in the science field


RUMFORD — One of the joys of being a teacher is to see the results students achieve after they leave Mountain Valley High School. Two MVHS alumnae, twin sisters, are on the path to becoming doctors by being scientists first.



Trisha Fortin inspects the brain of a rat used in her honors thesis project. The brain will be sliced into thin sections and then stained. Eventually she will be able to look at the slices under a fluorescence microscope and they will glow where different proteins are located in the brain, allowing her to determine where and how much cell death occurred.


Chelsea Fortin is a senior at Boston University majoring in biology and specializing in cellular and molecular biology as well as genetics. Trisha Fortin, also a senior at BU, is majoring in neuroscience. Both hope to become doctors. But, one will be a medical doctor and the other will earn a doctorate for cancer research.

Rather than sit in class and absorb knowledge from professors and lectures, both young women have chosen to create knowledge on the cutting edge of scientific research.

Chelsea explained her summer research project, “I tested about 200 proteins and found ones that work on the cell signaling process. When that process is disrupted, it may cause cancer.”

Trisha focused her research on learning and memory.

“My own project involves 10 rats,” she described. “We train them and I’ve done some surgery on them. I put opto-genes, which code for a light-sensitive protein, in the brain to shut off certain brain cells. I can shut off some parts of the brain and see how the rat performs.”

Trisha added, “I have to defend my research and I don’t like public speaking.”

But before the young women began their research projects, they had many steps to take to prepare. Along the way, they learned more about themselves and what they want in the future.

Chelsea started her preparation at MVHS in sophomore biology class.

She explained, “My grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer. In biology class, we did DNA stuff and replication [how DNA makes copies of itself] and I loved it. I found out I liked science. A. I’m good at this and B. I’m interested in it.”

Then at BU, Chelsea discovered that she could earn credit for doing research and she started her quest.

She said, “I went out of my comfort zone to email 30 or more professors. I was shy and intimidated about asking to work in their labs.”

Doors opened for her and by junior year she was doing research for credit.

“At first, it was a lot of observational learning,” Chelsea explained. “I learned more hands on by helping other lab mates with their projects. I now work with cell cultures.”

Then she applied for grant through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. “I wrote a grant proposal. It was stressful but a good process. I was awarded a stipend to do research over the summer. That’s when I worked with cell signaling and links to cancer.”

Chelsea continued, “This semester, I’m working part time in research. I clone genes for a partner to use in his mice research.”

Trisha’s path was different and led her to a different conclusion.

In addition to her rat research and working in her lab for 2.5 years, she volunteered at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital.

Trisha said, “This summer I worked at Mass. General in the ALS clinic. It was intense because I would shadow doctors or nurses and work with patients. The patients were terminal. But it was cool to work with the doctors.”

ALS, often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a degenerative disease where the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord stop working. As the disease progresses, muscles no longer receive signals for movement. Eventually the patient may become paralyzed and die.

Trisha explained, “I learned that I don’t want to do research. I want to become a medical doctor. I would like to specialize in neurology. I like the brain. But I’m open to seeing what’s fun. I hope to work in a place with underserved people.”

Like most college students in their last undergraduate semester, the Fortins need to make plans for their next steps.

Trisha said, “I am looking into a one-year master’s program before going to med school.”

She will hopefully head to the Philadelphia area, but has also applied to programs in Baltimore, Chicago, Boston, Ohio and New York.

Taking a different path, Chelsea is applying to do cancer research for a year until entering a PhD program.

Chelsea explained, “I hope to help more people with research versus being a medical doctor.”

Her plans include taking advantage of her network in Boston and probably staying in that area.

For the first time since their birth, the Fortin twins are heading to different parts of the country. Wherever they end up, they will certainly be doing service in various medical fields.


02/04/15 10:20 AM #7    

Donna Grannan

So sorry to hear of Mark's passing. I remember Mark from football days at Flyer Stadium on Hickam AFB, where I cheered with Mark's sister Cyndi. My condolences to Mark and his family.

10/16/16 03:41 PM #8    

Everett Peacock

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